February 27, 2017

ICYMI: Portsmouth Herald: Hassan Vows to Continue the Opioid Fight in NH

Key Point: "When U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, moved from the corner office in New Hampshire to her Washington, D.C., position, one thing did not change for her – her commitment to do whatever she can to fight the opioid crisis in the state. 

See below for excerpts or click here for the full story:

When U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, moved from the corner office in New Hampshire to her Washington, D.C., position, one thing did not change for her – her commitment to do whatever she can to fight the opioid crisis in the state.

Of course, Hassan's role in Washington is to represent all the needs of her constituents, but for her, the substance abuse problem faced by so many in New Hampshire is one she says remains one of her top priorities.

"As governor, I focused on a comprehensive approach to combating the heroin, fentanyl and opioid crisis, including working to strengthen treatment, prevention, recovery and law enforcement efforts," Hassan said. "Addressing this crisis remains one of my top priorities in the United States Senate, and I continue to work with those on the front lines to ensure that they have the tools and resources they need to stem — and ultimately reverse — this horrible epidemic. The very first amendment I authored in the Senate was a budget amendment to protect the access to medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders provided by the Affordable Care Act."

With the election of President Donald Trump, the Affordable Care Act is in jeopardy, as members of the Republican party and Trump have vowed to repeal the ACA.

"I have been fighting against efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion," Hassan said. "Repealing Medicaid expansion would undo New Hampshire's bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan, which provides coverage — including coverage for substance use disorder treatment and behavioral health services — to more than 50,000 Granite Staters. I have also pressed Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price on the importance of continuing the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that health insurance companies must cover essential health benefits, including treatment for substance abuse."

Also, important, Hassan said, is to continue to help law enforcement stop the flow of the deadly drugs.

"More than 70 percent of confirmed New Hampshire drug deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl, and increasing the oversight of packages from countries where we know fentanyl is coming from via the mail is essential to stemming the tide of this epidemic," Hassan said. "That's why I joined members of both parties in introducing the STOP Act, which will help prevent illegal drugs — such as fentanyl and carfentanil — from being shipped into America, and why I pressed Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly on his plan to combat the heroin and opioid crisis."

Last week, Hassan joined Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and Marco Rubio, R-Florida, in introducing the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, bipartisan legislation designed to help stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through the country's borders to drug traffickers here in the United States.

The bill, if passed, would require more information on packages mailed into the United States. The legislation would require packages shipped into the United States from foreign postal services and through the U.S. Postal Service to provide advanced electronic data, which includes who is sending the package, where they are sending it from, who it's being sent to and what the package contains.

Last week's action is just one in a continuation of bills and actions initiated by the senator, when she was serving the state as governor.

[...] "In the coming weeks and months, I will continue working to determine additional actions that are necessary to build on the work that we've been doing in New Hampshire to address this crisis," Hassan said.

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